As the Super Eagles brace up for the first leg against Antelopes on Sunday, Goal looks at the key battles that could determine the outcome of the matchANALYSISBy Babajide Alaka | Deputy Editor
The Walya Antelopes are a closely-knit team and play a lot of one-twos with each other especially in the midfield areas so it will be essential for players like Ogenyi Onazi and Mikel Obi to be continuously conscious of the players’ movements around them.
Goal beams a revealing light on some key battles that could swing the tie in either team’s favour.
|OGENYI ONAZI V MENYAHEL TESHOME|
Onazi on the other hand is the engine of the Eagles and is tireless whether marking opponents or trying to open tight defences from deep and he also scores the odd goal. The more energetic of these two players will win the midfield battle.
|MIKEL OBI v ADANE GIRMA|
Also Mikel is needed to slow the game down to negate the effects of altitude on the team. Girma will be hoping to draw the Eagles talisman away from that area so as to help create one-on-one situations between Onazi and Teshome.
|GODFREY OBOABONA v SALADIN SAID|
Oboabona must be very sharp and wary of these runs or make sure that the right back should always be on the lookout for these runs. Saladin showed a bit of what he can do at the last Nations Cup where naivety proved the undoing of him and the whole team.
Now more experienced, he will be a more consistent performer and will raise the stakes in this first leg.
|EMMANUEL EMENIKE v DEGU DEBEBE|
It will be left to the Super Eagles striker to impose his game on the Ethiopian captain. Debebe rarely makes mistakes in his tackling so it will be left to the striker to be fleet of foot and make sure to commit the Ethiopian captain and possibly get cautioned in the first half which will make it more difficult to dive into tackles in the second half.
|ELDERSON ECHIEJILE v GATANEH KEBEDE|
Echiejile has shown a serious propensity to overlap and help the attacking play of the Eagles in recent matches but in Addis Ababa with its thin oxygen content, he must minimize those runs so as to keep an eye on Kebede, who likes to begin his move from the right of their attack where he cannot be picked up by the central defenders and the midfielders so the Braga man will need to almost do a man-marking job on Kebede. ------------------- goal.com